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Simplify, speed up police record requests

Published:Friday | April 15, 2016 | 7:29 PM

Simplify, speed up police record requests

Recently, I was asked by a friend how to acquire a police record. "Obviously, you go to the nearest police station and request it," was what I concocted in my head and eventually told him.

"I thought special stations did the search and thus compiled the information," was his reply.

"Well, I would expect so," I said. But you should be able to make the request from any police station or at least from the ones in the township, in this case the Port Antonio Police Station. In so doing, the information would then be transferred to the relevant institution - you know, via that computer/technology thing.

In our quest for the correct procedures and ultimately, the police record, we encountered a female officer to whom the question was posed. Admitting that she was not a hundred per cent sure, she gave us her understanding of the procedures involved.

I thought to myself that this was something that all officers should know. But in all fairness, the Jamaica Constabulary Force comprises various branches and departments. But I digress.

As it turns out, the police officer was indeed correct. And it's not that I didn't believe her, but I was left discombobulated by what she explicated.

So based on her explanation, this is what we did: First, we paid for the record at the tax office (the fees are dependent on the pace of service - 21 working days, five working days or next-day service; $3,000, $6,000 and $8,000, respectively.

This is one of my pet peeves. If the information can be sourced in 24 hours, why should it take 21 working days? Why isn't 24 hours the norm, the standard, the benchmark, apart from the obvious revenue generation? Yet again, I digress.

So, after paying the fee, he would need to acquire two passport-size pictures. These, along with his identification card and TRN (an item that is rarely requested, and consequently, great difficulty was experienced in locating it), should be taken to one of the following places for processing: Criminal Records Office, 34 Duke Street Kingston; Summit Police Station, St James; May Pen Police Station, Clarendon; or Area Two Police Headquarters, St Mary. The report, when ready, should be collected at the same location.

This is my recommendation to the Ministry of National Security and the powers that be: To simplify the process, one should be able to request the police report from any police station with Internet access - which I am hoping is all. The information is then sent to one of the four places currently processing it. After the information is found, it is then relayed to the necessary police station for dissemination, thus preventing the expenditure of time and money by travelling outside of one's parish to request and subsequently collect.

I would also recommend that five working days be the standard time for turnover and $3,000 charged instead for the 21 days for the said amount.

D.S.A. Myles

Norwich Heights

Port Antonio, Portland